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Watch the One O'Clock Stanley online guitar lesson by David Hamburger from 50 Jazz-Blues Licks You MUST Know

From listening to Stanley Turrentine play on the classic Jimmy Smith organ combo records Midnight Special and Back at the Chicken Shack, I had sort of pegged the tenor saxophonist as a slippery, greasy kind of blues player who would always be almost impossible to figure out stuff from because his playing was so idiomatically saxophonic, if that’s a word, and full of things that would never translate to guitar, fun as they were to listen to. But in going back to those albums recently, along with a slew of other great albums Turrentine made as a leader, it turns out I’ve been totally missing the boat here.

Like Kenny Burrell, also featured on those Jimmy Smith recordings, Turrentine can blow thoroughly lowdown and gutbucket one moment, then turn on a dime to double-time his way through the changes with letter-perfect bop lines that still speak with all the grit and passion of his blues licks. In addition to the Smith stuff, you can check it all out on cuts like "Cotton Walk," "Blues in the Closet" (with the Three Sounds), "Get It" and, believe it or not, Turrentine’s version of "Can’t Buy Me Love," which for my money may be one of the only worthwhile jazz interpretations of the Fab Four, and a damn cookin’ one at that.